We asked Drag Race UK queens what they really think about 'shady' UK vs The World eliminations
3 March 2022, 15:47 | Updated: 3 March 2022, 17:52
"If you’re going to play it a certain way, then other people are going to play that game with you"
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It feels like the whole world has got its knickers in a twist over Drag Race UK vs The World. The source of all this consternation? Two highly contentious eliminations back to back and the rules by which the queens decide to eliminate each other from the competition.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with All Stars rules by now. Rather than the two worst performing queens lip syncing to stay in the competition, the top two queens “lip sync for the world” to be crowned the winner that week. They also earn the power to eliminate one of the bottom queens. But with great power comes great responsibility, and the politics of how you decide to send someone home has always been fraught with drama.
When the All Stars rules were first introduced on All Stars 2, and subsequent seasons since, many queens have argued that it should be whoever performed the worst in the challenge, or over the whole season, that should go home. But that hasn’t stopped queens saving each other based on their personal friendships, rather than their performance in the competition. A smaller group of queens have made the ruthless decision to use the opportunity to knock out their biggest competition. Who can ever forget Naomi Smalls pulling out the lipstick with Manila’s name on it? It was an iconic moment in Drag Race herstory and marked a new dawn of gaggery where the best queens might not make it to the final.
Naomi walked so Pangina and Blu Hydrangea could run. On UK vs The World, fans were up in arms when Pangina eliminated Jimbo, and then when Blu Hydrangea eliminated Pangina the following week. The fans called shade; many felt it was unfair to send them home as they were undoubtedly two of the favourites to win the competition. The backlash has been intense, with Pangina and Blu calling out the "toxic" messages they've received since the eliminations. Some have questioned whether All Stars rules should be dropped altogether.
Following the big hoo-ha surrounding Jimbo and Pangina’s eliminations, we wanted to know what Drag Race contestants really thought about the drama and, more importantly, if they would take out their biggest competition given the chance.
So, we caught up with the cast of Drag Race UK season 3 - who will be touring the UK later this year - as well as other notable queens from season 1 and 2, including Blu Hydrangea herself, to get the tea.
Divina de Campo
"You have to go into All Stars understanding what the game is. And if you’re going to play it a certain way, then other people are going to play that game with you. I think that’s what happened. Jimbo showed her hand too quick. Pangina did the same thing."
PopBuzz: Would you eliminate your biggest competition if you had the chance?
"I don’t know. I’m just not that person. I can’t. I would just have to be like ‘Nah, you were shit mate, you have to go’. It would have to be the worst person for me."
PopBuzz: Would you like to go on the show?
"Well before it was airing, I was like 'Yeah absolutely, if they ask me I would go back'. And then while it’s been on, I’ve been having these weird stress dreams. You know where you turn up in the workroom and you go ‘Oh, not only have I not brought any suitcases, I’ve got no clothes on, ARGH!’ So at that point, I'm going, is this a healthy environment for me to put myself back into? But I think I’d be a bit more chilled out about it to be honest."
"I can see Drag Race for what it is. It’s just a TV show about people who love doing drag, a bit of drama. It’s a competition, do you know what I mean? It does what it says on the tin. It’s entertaining and I love it, to be honest."
PopBuzz: Would you eliminate your strongest competition if given the chance?
"I think it would honestly depend on the circumstances. I know that’s such a pageant answer but it genuinely would. I would like to think that I would send home the person who I think has done bad that week but there’s so many different factors. It’s so hard to really know. I also think that if someone was a threat then maybe I would. Who knows?"
"I mean, it’s a competition at the end of the day. I would probably want to get rid of the top [performers]. You don't know what you would do until you get there, I guess. It’s very entertaining though, isn’t it? So I’m having a lovely time.
"Blu has probably got her head screwed on. Get rid of the top one."
"It’s a game. If you’re not in the game, then you don’t know how to play it. When you’re in the game, you know how to play the game. It is what it is. Vote them off straight away. Hopefully I don’t [have] to do that but that’s the name of the game."
"On my season, I was very much slagged off for when me and Ellie Diamond had that argument. I still have to defend myself to this day. People ask, 'Are you and Ellie friends?' Yes we are. Ellie shares her edibles with me. We are very good friends. But in the moment things do upset you and you should be allowed to talk about it.
"What annoys me is that Ellie was playing the game and people were saying ‘Come on Lawrence, someone is playing the game, it’s a competition, you have to get used to it’. And I got slagged [off] because I was like ‘Ellie you shouldn’t do that because I’m a friend'. Now, people are hypocrites, thinking exactly the same way as me by saying, ‘how dare you used the competition to your advantage’ [to Blu]."
PopBuzz: Who do you think is going to win?
"Blu Hydrangea is going to win."
PopBuzz: You sound very certain. Did RuPaul tell you that?
"[Laughs] Yeah Ru messaged me on Snapchat earlier on. She hit me up on Kik messenger and told me.
"Every season since I was on it, I’ve correctly predicted who wins, even if it’s just to my friends. I guess because I’ve been in the machine, I kinda know…they aren’t looking for someone perfect. I think I’m a better person for the ups and downs I had on my season. I don’t think they are looking for polished perfectness and no arguments or anything like that. I think Blu has shown her arse some times with some shady remarks but she is also killing it in the challenges. She’s also had the biggest growth since her season."
"For me, it’s just a TV show, and it should be for everyone else. It just a bit of camp fun. I love Jimbo’s drag, I love Pangina’s drag. But I think Blu is obviously representing the UK, she’s playing the game, she’s having fun with it, that is what you should do on that kind of platform.
"People complain when it’s boring and everyone’s nice but the second there’s a bit of drama everyone gets up in their tits about it. There’s a huge double standard on that show. Get rid of the big bitch, why not?!"
PopBuzz: But would you take out the top queen if you had the chance?
"Well I would be the top queen! I don’t know if I would. It would depend on the circumstances for me."
"Oh I love it. The most hated woman in Britain sent home Pangina last week. I hope she knows I’m joking! It’s a competition but it's also reality TV. People have got to stop being little trolls on Twitter and Instagram."
PopBuzz: Would you send home your biggest competition given the chance?
"I would play the competition. Now here’s the thing, I’m not usually a top, but for this instance where I am a top on UK vs The World, would I send home the person who was the worst that week, or would I send home the competition? Well you’ll have to wait to find out."
PopBuzz: Are you telling me you're on the next season of UK vs The World?
"These UK queens are messy and I’m here for it. Eliminate the big competition and there’s not even a cash prize. Imagine if there was a cash prize for it? It’s just a song with RuPaul! I mean, it’s a gorgeous prize, but these people would be punching each other on set if they actually would win some money."
PopBuzz: Would you give your biggest competition the boot given the chance?
"Yes, bye. Lovely to meet you!
"This format is great because it opens the opportunity for queens from different countries to compete, be on the same set and work together. I would love to work with some of the queens from Drag Race España and that opens the possibility to it. So yeah, absolutely I would love to compete on it. And then be like ‘Nice to see you, now go home so I can win.’"
"You know what? I think everybody is thinking, 'Lemon, Jimbo, Pangina have got it so hard because they’re the shock eliminations' What about Cheryl? Nobody’s talking about her elimination. I feel bad for that bitch! [Laughs] So Lemon, Jimbo and Pangina’s eliminations were horrible, but Cheryl’s? 'OK, we get that'.
"I loved watching it back. We filmed it a year ago and I’ve been sitting on this massive secret of me doing something so horrible to Pangina who I love and I find is very hot too. I didn’t know what the reaction was going to be like but, you know what, it’s just fun. All these people trying to troll but if I’ve learned anything from working with Baga Chipz, is that you just have to troll them back. Make a joke out of it. It’s not that serious. It’s a TV show."